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The Peak Leisure Club

  • Hong Kong, China
  • 1982 – 1983
  • Competition / Research

Proposals for an architectural landmark to stand apart above the congestion and intensity of Hong Kong – centred on the creation of a ‘man made polished granite mountain’. Excavated subterranean spaces, distinctive horizontal layers and floating voids house the club’s various activities within a unique ‘geology’, symbolizing the high life.

While not necessarily a difficult formal exercise, the creation of a building to serve as an architectural landmark in a major city such as Hong Kong presented a number of significant challenges. Programmatic inventiveness was required to imagine a building which reflected, but also provided relief from the city itself – a structure set above and apart, but at the same time integrated with the land and water below.

In response, designs for the The Peak proposed what is almost a ‘Suprematist geology’, using a range of materials to realize a design that cut through the landscape like a knife and rejected traditional principles of organization.

Integral to the concept was the proposed excavation of rock at the site’s lowest point – to be polished and used to create a ‘man made polished granite mountain’, exploiting excavated areas within the natural topography to house a range of ‘hedonistic’ activities. Above these subterranean spaces, the building itself was to be layered horizontally and feature horizontal beams, balconies and interconnecting corridors.

The club itself constituted a 13 metre void – suspended between the building’s second and penthouse layers, within which various elements – exercise platforms, entrance decks, circulation areas, snack bar and library were to ‘hover’. A number of these – including the swimming pool, which featured a number of floating platforms and ramps – were to be set in the open air. The building also featured four separate penthouse apartments above the club void.

Viewed from Hong Kong, the mountain cliff provided a backdrop to the club’s suspended leisure and intellectual resources. In its entirety, the building itself constitutes a unique, modern geology, symbolizing in many respects the ‘high life’ inherent in both club and city.




Zaha Hadid

Design Team

Michael Wolfson, Jonathon Dunn, Marianne van der Waals, N. Ayoubi


Michael Wolfson, Alistair Standing, Nan Lee, Wendy Galway


Ove Arup and Partners